Going, Going But Not Quite Gone

In Maine, what a difference a week can make. The snow is nearly gone from the backyard, and we can see the garden and some of the patio. The area by the clothesline is free, and I long to start washing blankets so that I can hang them outside.

The backyard
The backyard


“Not quite yet,” Clif has advised. “The ground is still too soft, and the weight of the blankets will pull the line over.”

He is right, of course, and I’ll hold off washing the blankets for another few weeks. But now and then, I look longingly out the window at the line.

The waiting clothesline
The waiting clothesline


Yesterday, in an extreme case of Pushing the Season, Clif and I went outside and mucked around for a bit. I mean this literally. Our shoes left footprints in the mud, and where it was shady—this includes the whole front yard—we left footprints in snow that is as soft as a coconut slushy.

The front yard
The front yard


I had originally gone out to pick up sticks in the backyard. When you live in the woods, there are always a fair number that fall during the winter. I gather them and put them in a large garbage can, and we use them in the firepit in the summer.

The ground was really too soft for this chore, but Clif soon found another that was more appropriate. That is, removing usable wood that had been trimmed by the power company and left in an untidy clump in our front yard. While he was at it, he brought out the ladder and sawed some branches that were hanging too low. We saved what we could use, and the rest I hauled into the woods, where I made a little brush pile for the creatures who live there.

All in all, we spent a good couple of hours at our task, and when we were done, the front yard looked much better.  We came in with wet feet and a sense of accomplishment. I popped some popcorn and we settled in the living room to read and to eat our snack. The dog, who had been supervising outside, jumped on the couch so that he, too, could have some buttered popcorn. All was snug and cozy.

I’m going to conclude with a wood metaphor. Going out on a limb, I’m predicting that winter is over, and we are on the cusp of mud season, early spring in Maine. The days are ever so much longer, and yesterday I heard our resident cardinal singing his spring song.

Naturally, this winter I did not accomplish anywhere near as much as I wanted with my inside chores—the perpetual cleaning and decluttering.  Never mind! On bad days I will work on those projects. Right now, I am itching to be outside, even if it’s only to muck about in the yard.

Of course, Mother Nature might give us one her little surprise March snowstorms, which will cover all the bare ground and make everything even wetter and soggier. But the snow won’t last long.

Spring is edging her way in, and how welcome she is.

Snow dog
Snow dog

Winthrop Gets a Peace Pole

Yesterday was an exciting day for the town of Winthrop, which got its very own Peace Pole and memorial bench dedicated to Tom Sturtevant, a long-time Winthrop resident who died in January of 2012. Tom was many things, including a friend, a teacher, a peace activist, a husband, and a father. Here is what I wrote about Tom not long after he died: “There are many ways to promote peace, and Tom’s involvement with various peace groups was one way, but helping to make the community—in this case, Winthrop—a better place is another way of promoting peace, which starts at home. Tom volunteered at the Winthrop Food Pantry and with Meals on Wheels. He helped establish the Winthrop Community Gardens and was involved with the Inch-by-Inch Garden project for the Winthrop Grade School.” Tom was also involved with the library expansion.

Tom was tall, lanky, soft-spoken, brave, and resolute. I still remember how at the November 2011 board meeting at the Winthrop Food Pantry, two people rode their bikes on that brisk day: Me and Tom, who was in his 80s. I sure miss seeing that man biking or walking around town. I miss hearing that soft-spoken voice.

To honor this man who gave so much of himself to peace and to the community, the Winthrop Area People for Peace got permission from the Winthrop Town Council to put a Peace Pole and a bench in the Inch-by-Inch Garden at the grade school. (Here is a description of what a Peace Pole is.) All the money for this project came from private donations, and the granite for the pole and the bench came from Tom’s house in Winthrop. How appropriate!

All summer was spent planning, organizing, and raising money for the Peace Pole and bench, and yesterday the big day for the installation finally arrived. John Jennings, owner of Forgotten Stoneworks, and his assistant David Krantz came with their equipment to install the Peace Pole and the bench. Margy and Steve Knight and Clif and I were there to supervise and be enthusiastic cheerleaders. To say we were thrilled by the Peace Pole and bench is a vast understatement. Ecstatic might be a better word. Did we jump up and down a little? Probably not. But I know I felt like doing so.

All went smoothly, and within an hour so, the pole, which according to Steve, weighs about 1,300 pounds, and the bench were in place in the Inch-by-Inch Garden. The phrases inscribed on the sides are: “May Peace Prevail on Earth”; “Be the Change You Wish to See”; “Let Peace Begin with Me”; and “Inch by Inch…Gonna Make this Garden Grow.”

On Sunday, November 3 at 1:00 p.m., there will be a Peace Pole Celebration at the Inch-by-Inch Garden by the Winthrop Grade School. A reception will immediately follow in the Winthrop Town Hall. Everyone who knew Tom (or who would have liked to have known Tom) is invited to come. We are anticipating a big crowd. Tom, you are still missed, and you are certainly not forgotten.



Peace Pole Slide Show:

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